“Sweetheart” is an amazing coming of age teen drama with a lesbian twist

DVD cover of the movie "Sweetheart"
DVD cover of the movie "Sweetheart"

Over the past few years, more teen coming-of-age stories have started to feature lead characters from the LGBTQ community, one of the most famous ones being the incredible Love, Simon. It has really been beautiful to see more filmmakers add in finding your true sexual identity when a lot of these features have had straight young adult characters for many years.

It is true though a lot of these new films have had male leads. Sweetheart is one this time that focuses on a young woman coming to terms with her queerness. When 17 year old AJ is brought on a family vacation that she really is not excited about, she ends up meeting a group of friends and ignores her overbearing mom’s apprehension. While forming a bond with her new friends, AJ learns a lot more about who she is as a person.

Despite the very quick connection, it ends up taking her on an important self-discovery journey. The film is incredible. There really has been a ton of films that focus on teens on the brink of adulthood. At this point a lot of similar themes have been shown in this genre, but Sweetheart is able to tackle coming of age topics in such a refreshing way.

The relationship dynamic between AJ and her mom Tina is dynamic and realistic. Sometimes even while our parents have their best intentions at heart, it is not what we need for our individual and true self. Sweetheart tackles this in an interesting way.

Actress Jo Hartley gave a bravura performance as Tina. Her character is full and complete with a lot of emotional depth. At times the character does some pretty unlikable things. But eventually the audience sees her as a complex woman that is just trying her best. The movie is very engaging. It is nice to see it take place on a vacation. Not many coming-of-age stories have this setting, so that was also a cool twist.

Despite the film being a serious drama, it never comes off as too sappy or depressing. It is a moving journey of a young woman coming into her true lesbian self and it is inspiring.

Sweetheart is an almost perfect film. It is engaging from start to finish. it pulls the audience into AJ’s perspective and thoughts right from the start. It shows the challenges for those who feel different and are having to find a place of their own in the world. It is impactful throughout. The cast is stellar. The performances are real and the positive message is for viewers of all ages. It is an outstanding movie.

5/5 stars